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Shell's B.C. LNG project gets environmental OK under expedited process

Royal Dutch Shell’s proposed liquefied natural gas project in Kitimat, B.C., has received conditional environmental approvals from both the province and the federal government under an expedited environmental review process.

1st project to be approved under combined provincial and federal process

A liquefied natural gas tanker arrives at Sodegaura city in Chiba prefecture, east of Tokyo. There were conditions placed on marine routes and speeds after an environmental assessment of the LNG Canada project. (STR/AFP/Getty )

Royal Dutch Shell's proposed liquefied natural gas project in Kitimat, B.C., has received conditional environmental approvals from both the province and the federal government under an expedited environmental review process.

Under the new Canadian Environmental Assessment Act passed in 2012, British Columbia performs the environmental review process and that assessment is used by the federal government when it gives its approval.

"Using a single environmental assessment reduces duplication and increases efficiencies for everyone involved in the environmental assessment, while ensuring a rigorous and thorough review that assesses all the potential effects of a proposed project," the province said in a news release.

The Shell-led LNG Canada project is the first to be granted a certificate under the streamlined process. The $23 billion to $36-billion project includes LNG storage, power generation, a marine terminal and LNG shipping.

It plans to build the project, with annual capacity of 26 million tonnes of LNG, in a partnership with PetroChina Co. Ltd., which holds a 20 per cent stake as well as Japan's Mitsubishi Corp. and South Korea's Korea Gas Corp., which each hold 15 per cent.

The province has imposed 24 conditions and the federal government says it has imposed 50 conditions on the environmental approval.

Among those conditions:

  • Develop a greenhouse gas emissions management plan.
  • Mitigate and monitor impacts to marine mammals during construction and shipping.
  • Manage and monitor marine water quality to protect marine life and human health.
  • Offset impacts to ecologically important wetlands.
  • Develop a traffic management plan to minimize disruptions during construction.
  • Develop a marine activities plan that monitors and mitigates impacts to marine users.
  • Assess the wake effects from LNG  carriers.
  • Continue consulting with the public and Aboriginal groups throughout all phases of the project.

B.C. environment minister Mary Polak and natural gas development minister Rich Coleman said the province has issued an environmental certificate for the export terminal project. Federal Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq also announced an OK.

The province said aboriginal groups, businesses, communities and governments were consulted during the assessment process.

First Nations groups were very concerned about the effect of marine traffic near Triple Island and plans for disposal of waste at sea.

LNG Canada agreed to amend its design to reduce the impact on fish habitats, move the shipping route further from Triple Island and refine areas proposed for disposal at sea.

The partners have not yet given a go-ahead for the project.

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